When the press reported that Adam Lanza had Asperger’s syndrome (part of the autism spectrum disorders) and other unspecified personality problems, the autism community swung into action in a way that is totally understandable. The Associated Press’ headline: “Experts: No Link Between Asperger’s, Violence.”
The vast majority of autistic people are not violent. Autistics like Temple Grandin, the professor who helped create humane strategies for the meat industry, remind us that many people with high-functioning also go on to live full, rich lives of value to themselves and others.
Grandin also reminded us that, for austic people, “The principal emotion experienced by autistic people is fear.
If you cannot read people’s social cues, it’s hard to tell who is a threat and who is not. If you live in a world with social rules created by “neurotypicals” that make no sense, anxiety and fear are natural, perhaps inevitable, responses.
But the suggestion that science has demonstrated there is no link at all between autism and aggressive violence is questionable.
Google “autism” and “aggression” and you will suddenly be treated to a counter world the formal autism community claims does not exist: desperate mothers seeking help or respite from the violent behavior of large, aggressive, beloved autistic boys (and a few girls).
In the name of love and absent decent institutions for these troubled young adults, we are permitting a silent epidemic of domestic terrorism against women that we would not tolerate under any other banner.
And there is more, including accounts of research that is all too consonant with the anecdotes found in the article.